Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Friday, November 6, 1998 Published at 21:43 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Senior Tibetan abbot quits China

The abbot led one of the mot important monasteries in China

A senior Tibetan Buddhist abbot has left China and is reported to have gone into exile in the United States.

Arjia Rinpoche was abbot of one of Tibetan Buddhism's four most important monasteries - the Kumbum monastery in China's Qinghai province - and is known in China as a living Buddha, the reincarnation of a senior Tibetan monk. .

The abbot also held high-ranking positions in the Chinese hierarchy as vice-president of the state-controlled Buddhist Association and a standing committee member of the government-appointed advisory body to China's parliament.

Arjia Rinpoche, is one of the most senior Tibetans to have left the country since the Dalai Lama went into exile in 1959.

Disagreement with government

[ image: The Dalai Lama: Tibet's spiritual leader]
The Dalai Lama: Tibet's spiritual leader
A source in the Tibetan government-in-exile in India told the BBC that the abbot left Tibet around four months ago, following disagreements over China's religious policies.

In the last couple of years, China has been waging a campaign to purge Tibetan monasteries of Dalai Lama supporters.

China accuses the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in Northern India, of being a "splitist " intent on gaining independence for Tibet.

Arjia Rinpoche was also a close associate of the late Panchen Lama, who before his death in 1989 was China's highest-ranking Tibetan Buddhist leader.

The BBC correspondent in Beijing, James Miles, says the incident is likely to be a considerable embarrassment for the Chinese government.

It is not known how the abbot left the country and he has kept a low profile since he left.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

17 Oct 98 | From Our Own Correspondent
New crackdown on Tibetan monks

Internet Links

The Government of Tibet in Exile

Tibet Online Resource Gathering

Human Rights Watch - Tibet

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Indonesia rules out Aceh independence

DiCaprio film trial begins

Millennium sect heads for the hills

Uzbekistan voices security concerns

From Business
Chinese imports boost US trade gap

ICRC visits twelve Burmese jails

Falintil guerillas challenge East Timor peackeepers

Malaysian candidates named

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Holbrooke to arrive in Indonesia

China warns US over Falun Gong

Thais hand back Cambodian antiques